If you’re a woman who has had a weight loss contest with a male friend, partner, or family member, you’ve probably suspected that he was somehow cheating – and you would essentially be right!
Due to a number of physical and social variables, on average, women tend to have a harder time losing weight than their male counterparts do. Here’s why:
Female bodies run on a slightly slower metabolic clock than male ones do, which can make losing and keeping off weight take more effort and time. On average, higher body fat content and lower muscle mass means that women’s bodies tend to use less energy than men’s over the course of a day. Building more muscle can help with improving metabolic rates.
While men certainly can develop thyroid disease, it is far more common in women. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can wreak havoc on hormonal levels and metabolic rates, adding another roadblock to weight loss. If you’re a woman who’s struggling to lose weight and can’t figure out why, or you’re feeling sluggish in general, get checked by your doctor for hypothyroidism.
One of the most common side effects of hormonal birth control (which includes pills, patches, and shots) is weight gain. Medication-related weight gain can thus add to the total number of pounds you want to take off, and can also make keeping them off more difficult. If you’re starting on a new birth control medication, think about adding in some extra exercise to mitigate its effects.